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Old 06-14-2018, 07:00 PM   #1
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Leaky front seal options? (5.9)

My 2002 Freightliner/Thomas has a Cummins 5.9 engine in it which (I found out today) is leaking from the front seal instead of the lines as we had hoped.

It loses a few tablespoons a day I would guess. I've been carrying around cardboard to toss under the front of the engine when I park.

What are my options? Or, I should say, what are your opinions about these options? Any other suggestions?
  • Get a truck repair shop to replace it (any idea of cost?);
  • Live with it - just top up the oil, and carry a lot of cardboard;
  • Use stop-leak or some other magic potion (recommendations?);
  • Something else?
Note that we will be selling the bus at the other end of the trip, but we may need to live in it for up to six months.

Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
My 2002 Freightliner/Thomas has a Cummins 5.9 engine in it which (I found out today) is leaking from the front seal instead of the lines as we had hoped.

It loses a few tablespoons a day I would guess. I've been carrying around cardboard to toss under the front of the engine when I park.

What are my options? Or, I should say, what are your opinions about these options? Any other suggestions?
  • Get a truck repair shop to replace it (any idea of cost?);
  • Live with it - just top up the oil, and carry a lot of cardboard;
  • Use stop-leak or some other magic potion (recommendations?);
  • Something else?
Note that we will be selling the bus at the other end of the trip, but we may need to live in it for up to six months.

Thanks!
Just keep it topped off.
DO NOT use "stop leak".
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:12 PM   #3
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Just keep it topped off.
DO NOT use "stop leak".
OK, question #1: how much oil does the crosshatched area on the dipstick represent? On a passenger car it represents a quart. Same here?

Question #2: my mechanic suggested the stop-leak. Why not use it? Not to cross you - just want to have something to say other than "a friend on the internet said..."

Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
OK, question #1: how much oil does the crosshatched area on the dipstick represent? On a passenger car it represents a quart. Same here?

Question #2: my mechanic suggested the stop-leak. Why not use it? Not to cross you - just want to have something to say other than "a friend on the internet said..."

Thanks!
Not sure on cummins but probably at least a half gallon. Check google.

I've never found band aids like "stop leak" to be anything but snake oil and they usually just plug up the internals. I ruined an engine with cooling system "stop leak" and learned my lesson.

Plenty of folks have leaky front covers on 5.9's. At least you're not leaking coolant like my 466 is!
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:39 PM   #5
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...they usually just plug up the internals. I ruined an engine with cooling system "stop leak" and learned my lesson.
I think that rather than cement for a coolant system, the stop leak for motor oil is often MEK (methyl-ethyl-ketone), which softens the seal rubber to help it seal better.

Edit: Lucas' stop leak for oil is all petroleum ("Distillates (petroleum), solvent-refined heavy naphthenic, 60-100%"). Not that I know what that means.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:06 PM   #6
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I think that rather than cement for a coolant system, the stop leak for motor oil is often MEK (methyl-ethyl-ketone), which softens the seal rubber to help it seal better.

Edit: Lucas' stop leak for oil is all petroleum ("Distillates (petroleum), solvent-refined heavy naphthenic, 60-100%"). Not that I know what that means.
The coolant stuff wasn't cement.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:10 PM   #7
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The coolant stuff wasn't cement.
Apologies: I've used stuff before that kinda turned into cement. The distinction I was trying to make was that the coolant stuff may try to fill holes while the oil stuff may try to soften rubber. Lucas' pitch says it fills worn spaces, so it's doing both.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:37 PM   #8
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Not sure that I understand the front seal leak. The oil level is below the seals. So ,without the engine running, the leak should stop after a couple of days when the volume between the seal and the bearing has leaked out. While running and on the road it might leak more. May be you found the reason while you have so little rust ... just joking. Thanks for hanging out while I was driving back from West Jefferson.
Hope you made progress on your planning.

good luck, j
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:57 PM   #9
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Not sure that I understand the front seal leak. The oil level is below the seals. So ,without the engine running, the leak should stop after a couple of days when the volume between the seal and the bearing has leaked out. While running and on the road it might leak more.
That's a keen observation: now that I think of it, I do get a fair number of drips after stopping (and presumably while running), but after a day or several I don't see the volume I would expect were it to be dripping constantly at that rate.

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May be you found the reason while you have so little rust...
I'll take it!
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:30 PM   #10
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An other place the 5.9 often leaks is the tappet cover on the left side of the block. At least on the 12 valve -- I just realized 2002 is a 24 valve, and I'm not sure about that one.
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